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Single Women and Lesbians To Enjoy Full Rights in Donor Child Proposals

According to the plans outlined by the Government yesterday, Gay couples are to be given the same parental rights to children born from fertility// treatment as heterosexual partners - most controversial to the legal clause in the past that suggested the doctors to consider the "need for a father" before going ahead with fertility treatment, by which, many women without a male partner have had difficulty being accepted for the treatment.

The current white paper, which is an update on the laws set in 1990, this clause has been removed and several other changes has been quoted. With this, more single women and lesbians could get IVF, but clinics will still have to consider the welfare of any child conceived through fertility treatment.

The changes reported in the proposal is likely to affect everything from the right of donor-conceived children to know if they have biological siblings and also to include a ban on parents choosing the sex of their child except in strict medical circumstances.

Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP who campaigned against the need for a father clause, welcomed its removal under the new plans, which will now be debated in parliament. He added: ‘Scientific evidences have suggested that children do very well being brought up by lesbian couples or solo parents.’

But other groups have expressed concern about the change.

The Scottish Council on Human Bioethics (SCHB) said studies on the effects of children brought up without a father, which showed no difference to other families, were incomplete and had often examined only pre-adolescent children.

Dr Calum MacKellar, the director of research for the SCHB, said: "It is possible that these children may only become aware of any psychological problems when they become adults or consider having children of their own."

Moreover, Josephine Quintavalle of campaign group, while commenting on the Reproductive Ethics, said that remo ving the need for a father reference was a "dreadful statement".


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